The Milwaukee Bucks took historic action on Wednesday, refusing to take the court against the Orlando Magic and boycotting Game 5 of their NBA playoff series.
Weeks after the NBA world came together with small actions to protest against police brutality and systemic injustice in the United States, Milwaukee’s players took their protest to an unprecedented level Wednesday.
Minutes before the Bucks and Magic were scheduled to tip off in the NBA’s Orlando bubble, none of Milwaukee’s players left the locker room. As time passed, with the Magic left waiting for their opponent, it became evident something significant was happening.
The Bucks still haven't come out to the court for Game 5 and the Magic have left the court. pic.twitter.com/tA6pSaXGsM— ESPN (@espn) August 26, 2020
The NBA sent officials to Milwaukee’s locker room, and a few moments later, the Magic and the game’s officials returned to their respective areas. As the buzzer sounded for Game 5 to begin, the court stood completely empty.
This moment comes just days after Jacob Blake was shot seven times in the back by law enforcement in Wisconsin. The video of the shooting spread across the country, leading to renewed outrage after months of protesting and calls for change following the deaths of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor at the hands of police officers.
As a historic sports moment unfolded, the NBA world reacted as word broke that the Bucks were boycotting Game 5. It also may not be the only playoff boycott we see in the coming days.
The Milwaukee Bucks have decided to boycott Game 5, source tells ESPN.— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) August 26, 2020
The buzzer just sounded to start the game. No one is out here but the referees.— Tim Bontemps (@TimBontemps) August 26, 2020
Bucks and Magic are about to do something real— Tony Gill (@thetonygill) August 26, 2020
Bucks are making the world hear their voices. People are fine with protests until it makes them uncomfortable. Salute to the team for taking a stand and keep putting on the pressure.— Grant Goldberg (@GrantGoldberg) August 26, 2020
Massive respect to the Bucks and any team that boycotts. https://t.co/DBlsdmOxSn— Bryant West (@BSWest5) August 26, 2020
I'm incredibly proud of these players who are deciding to boycott.— Luck (@Quierra_Luck) August 26, 2020
Milwaukee broadcaster @olskool888 on Bucks boycott: "If not you, then who? If not now, then when?"— Dan Molloy (@DanMolloyTV) August 26, 2020
It's important to remember that current Milwaukee Buck Sterling Brown is still in the middle of a lawsuit against the city of Milwaukee due to him suffering police brutality in January of 2018.— Keith Smith (@KeithSmithNBA) August 26, 2020
We’re not just here for your entertainment.— Full Dissident (@hbryant42) August 26, 2020
Sincerely, the Milwaukee Bucks
There is “failure to appear” language in the Operations Manual.— Bobby Marks (@BobbyMarks42) August 26, 2020
– forfeiture of the game
– up to $5M fine
That doesn’t mean it will be applied in the case of Milwaukee boycotting G5.
Like everything this year, we are dealing with situations that have never happened before.